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Budget Padding tears Nigeria’s parliament apart



Budget Padding tears Nigeria’s parliament apart

Nigerian lower Chamber of the parliament, House of Representatives on Wednesday was thrown into a rowdy session over a motion demanding the investigation of the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, for allegedly padding the 2016 budget.

In the motion, a member of the House suggested that the allegation of budget padding should be investigate by the Ethics Committee.

In another motion, a lawmaker sought the investigation of the former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Honourable Abdulmumuni Jibrin, for allegedly helping corruption allegation on the entire House and the Speaker.

This began when Jibrin accused the Speaker of unlawfully using his position to divert monies meant for constituency projects, for personal use, an allegation the Speaker denies.

However, in a unanimous decision, the House agreed that the Ethics Committee should commence immediate investigation of Jibrin for “misconduct and heaping allegations of budget padding on the House”.

Jibrin had in July accused the House principal officers, including the Speaker, of having attempted to pad the 2016 budget with 40 billion Naira constituency projects.

And in August, he submitted a petition at four Federal Government agencies against the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and 11 others, saying they were evidences to back his allegations on padding of the 2016 budget.

The former Head of Appropriation expressed readiness to help fight corruption in the National Assembly.

The petition was submitted at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of Security Services (DSS) and the Police headquarters all in Abuja.

Speaking with reporters shortly after submitting his petition at the ICPC, Representative Jibrin said that if the accused could be prosecuted, found guilty and sent to jail, it would send out a powerful signal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s war against corruption.

After he submitted the new documents he wrote on his Twitter account: “My lawyers have confirmed my appointments for today with security and anti-corruption agencies to personally provide insight on my petition”.

The Presidency had taken interest in the saga, inviting the lawmaker for talks with the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption.

He was asked to brief members of the committee on the details of the allegations.

The meeting was held behind closed-doors on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital and lasted for about four hours.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Honourable Jibrin said his allegations were not about settling scores with the Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara.

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Biodun Abimbola

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